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Crime, International, South Africa

South Africa Slides in Global Corruption Perceptions Index Amidst Rule of Law Concerns

Michael Hawthorne

In the latest report released by Transparency International (TI), global efforts to combat corruption are facing a severe setback as the rule of law declines, leading to a rise in corrupt practices across the world. The 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) unveiled by the watchdog has revealed that South Africa, along with 22 other countries, has reached its lowest-ever level in the global ranking index.

Transparency International pointed out that there has been a significant global decline in justice and the rule of law since 2016, attributing the rise of corruption to weakening justice systems that reduce the accountability of public officials. The NGO emphasized that corruption will persist until justice systems can effectively punish wrongdoing and hold governments accountable.

Francois Valerian, the Chair of Transparency International, urged leaders to invest in and guarantee the independence of institutions responsible for upholding the law and combating corruption. He emphasized that the fight against corruption is crucial for the well-being of societies and the most vulnerable populations.

TI’s CEO, Daniel Eriksson, stressed that corruption exacerbates social injustice and disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in society. He called for breaking barriers and ensuring effective access to justice for victims of corruption.

The Corruption Perceptions Index, which assesses corruption perception using 13 data sources, including the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and private risk and consulting firms, assigns rankings on a scale from 0 (“highly corrupt”) to 100 (“very clean”) for 180 countries and territories.

Notably, high-scoring democracies like Iceland, the Netherlands, and Sweden experienced a decline in the 2023 index. South Africa’s own decline in the global ranking index to 83rd “most corrupt country” reflects concerns about the state of its justice system and its ability to combat corruption effectively.

In the global rankings, Denmark led for the sixth consecutive year, followed by Finland and New Zealand. South Africa’s decline in rank, aligns with concerns raised by TI about the stagnation of sub-Saharan Africa at a score of 33. The report also highlighted the challenges faced by regions such as Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and even Western Europe and the European Union.

The South African government’s response to these findings and its commitment to addressing the root causes of corruption will be crucial in determining the country’s future standing in the Corruption Perceptions Index. The fight against corruption remains an ongoing challenge that demands the immediate attention and concerted efforts of leaders and citizens alike.



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